Rachel Carson “Sense of Wonder” Contest

By Alex Gorsky

Being an environmental guy, I had heard of Rachel Carson. I saw a video about her in a science classes and I read her book, Silent Spring. It wasn’t until I started to intern at the EPA that I learned that there was a contest under her name. When I began to work this summer, I learned that I would be helping collect the entries and judge the contest. Not wanting to go into the judging blind, I went to the Rachel Carson Contest website to do research on past contestants. Each winner clearly showed how important the environment was for them. I couldn’t wait till I started getting submissions for this year’s contest.

I didn’t have to wait long. In my first week I was already working on the contest to get the entries ready for judging. By looking at the entries I could see the love that each team had for nature and the environment. Some teams were from the city and had not viewed nature other than in passing while other teams were brought up and brought up their children and grandchildren deeply immersed in the environment. Despite the variety of entries and the locations they were from, I could see that each team had the “Sense of Wonder” that Rachel Carson hoped for us all to have.
As the end of my internship approached, we began to judge the contest. Thankfully, we only had to pick out the top contenders from each category. Every entry was so well done that it was hard to determine which we had to cut out; not every entry could be a finalist. Through much deliberation we were able to make our choices and decide on the finalists for the contest. Each finalist received a certificate from the EPA as well as a letter of congratulations.

As Rachel Carson wrote, “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” Voting for the contest has begun and will be open until September 30th.

About the author: Alex Gorsky is an intern in the Office of Public Engagement at the EPA. He is a senior at Beloit College majoring in Environmental Studies.

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